When college students don’t get enough sleep, their grades will suffer. That’s according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences. Researchers studied the sleep habits of 600 college freshmen. They found that for every lost hour of sleep at the beginning of an academic term, there was a predictive 0.07-point drop in a student’s grade point average.
“It’s not surprising,” says Dr. Innessa Donskoy, pediatric sleep medicine physician at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “But I do believe it is awesome that after a decade of a hustle culture that glorified sleep deprivation, we are now focusing on the toll it takes, particularly on young people.”
While students may think those “all-nighters” to study for exams are resulting in better grades, Dr. Donskoy suggests it may be just the opposite.
“Sleep actually helps us consolidate memories, which is crucial to the learning process,” says Dr. Donskoy. “During sleep, especially deep sleep, we do hard work. It is a dynamic process where we’re pruning memories. We’re actually optimizing the chance we’ll remember the information we’ve been taking in.”
She offers these three tips for students in college or hoping to attend sometime soon:
- Intentionally plan your day – Block 8-10 hours for sleep along with time for studying and social activities. Of course, there will always be exceptions from time to time.
- Find your body’s natural rhythm – On a slow day over the weekend, what is your internal clock telling you? What’s the best time to go to bed and wake up to feel your best. Then use that knowledge to choose class times and plan activities.
- Adopt healthy, non-risk-taking behaviors – Good nutrition and exercise promote healthy sleep.
Dr. Donskoy adds that there can sometimes be other reasons for sleep issues in adolescents and young people. A sleep medicine physician can help in identifying and addressing these concerns.
A news service from AdvocateAuroraHealth.
This article originally appeared on health enews.